NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The national, non-profit School Nutrition Association (SNA) has named Constance Little, SNS, Nutrition Services Supervisor for Beavercreek City Schools 2018 Director of the Year.
The award recognizes the extraordinary contributions of school nutrition directors who manage effective school meal programs providing healthy, appetizing meals to students.
Celebrating 21 years as a member of SNA and eight years as a supervisor, Constance Little brings a great deal of nutrition knowledge and operations savvy to the district, creating a more efficient nutrition services program. Little has implemented many cost-savings initiatives while ensuring her schools provide quality foods and great customer service.
By switching schools to a new point of service and pre-payment system, she saved the district more than $40,000 annually. Through tedious evaluation of staff hours, she developed work algorithms over the last eight years to enhance labor efficiency, saving the district $100,000.
Little has also sought and secured over $38,000 in grants, including one for the creation of The Beavercreek Breakfast Club in the high school that increased student participation by 15 percent. She has also cut costs by switching from magnetic menus to a web based interactive system to promote the district’s delicious menu options and nutritional content.
Little’s staff appreciates her commitment to professional development and efforts to make learning fun. Dawn Kacvinsky, who nominated Little, said that one of her legacies is a great training program she developed called, “A Trip Down the Yellow Brick Road-Learning the Meal Pattern.”
Using the Wizard of Oz concept, she helps her staff learn the protein, grain, fruit, vegetable and milk requirements for each grade level. Little utilizes the training annually so that everyone stays sharp in understanding and implementing school meal regulations. And, she introduces the program to all new staff members, keeping everyone on the same “yellow brick road.”
In addition to her high standards for food quality, customer service and staff development, Little always strives to build community spirit throughout Beavercreek City Schools. Little created the “Bake A Great Team” bake-off involving 24 unsuspecting administration staff in August of 2017. She developed team rules, researched district trivia and coordinated the kitchen, equipment, utensils, baking supplies, judging criteria sheets and award ribbons for four teams.
Due to the success of the event, three other districts have called Little for assistance in starting their own bake-off. Little also organizes the café to support the 124-person “Military Child Day” event in the cafeteria and a Grandparent’s Luncheon with more than one hundred attendees.
Little served as local chapter president for five terms and president of School Nutrition Association of Ohio from 2011-12. She partnered with and earned five grants from the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF), presenting nutrition education and farming to 3,500 students and families.
“Constance Little has made great effort to save her district resources and lower costs while maintaining a high quality program for students and leading a well-trained nutrition services staff,” said SNA President Lynn Harvey, EdD, RDN, SNS. “She works to ensure that students, staff and the community have a positive school nutrition experience and exemplifies the impact that dedicated directors have in their students’ lives. We are so honored to have her represent SNA as the 2018 Director of the Year.”
In July, Little will be honored during the Red Carpet Awards Ceremony at the School Nutrition Association’s Annual National Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.